Coalition MK calls to ban Jews from the Temple Mount

MK Moshe Gafni bemoans increase in Jewish visitors to site, claims they are violating Jewish law by touring the compound.

By World Israel News Staff

A haredi (ultra-Orthodox) MK from the United Torah Judaism party called for the Israeli government to ban Jews from ascending to the Temple Mount, days after National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir praised an uptick in Jewish visitors to the site.

“Ascending to the Temple Mount is a severe violation of Halacha [Jewish law]. It’s heartbreaking that 3,000 Jews violated this important prohibition…close the Temple Mount to Jews now!” wrote MK Moshe Gafni on social networking site X on Wednesday evening.

Some haredi Jews, including Gafni, believe that visiting the Temple Mount – which is the holiest site in Judaism – violates Halachic guidelines regarding pilgrimages to the site, due to issues relating to ritual impurity.

However, there is no all-encompassing rabbinical ruling regarding whether or not Jews may visit the site. Many Religious Zionist rabbis in particular encourage Jews to tour the compound, albeit that they engage in purification rituals beforehand.

Gafni’s call to close the Temple Mount to Jewish pilgrims appears to be a direct affront to Ben-Gvir, who has toured the site multiple times since taking office and recently celebrated increasing numbers of Jewish visitors to the compound.

Read  Israeli minister bashes Biden's handling of war, hints at support for Trump

According to Hebrew-language media reports, Ben-Gvir is expand visiting hours for Jews and aims to allow open Jewish prayer at the compound – which would mark the first time Jewish visitors would be able to worship publicly at the site.

Currently, Jewish pilgrims to the Temple Mount must be accompanied by security forces and are limited to visiting the site during specific hours.

Additionally, Jews are not allowed to pray at the site, as the Islamic Waqf organization that serves as the custodian to the compound views Jewish worship as offensive to Muslim sensibilities.

Jews who have prayed out loud at the site or prostrated themselves on the ground have been arrested and violently removed from the compound by authorities.